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Addressing Asset Criticality – Takeaways from World MetroRail Congress Americas 2017

Jul 17, 2017
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Train tracks with 4 parked trains in the distance

Buying a tool or a new piece of technology for your transit agency is not enough to fix a growing challenge – the technology alone cannot solve the problem if an organization is not ready for change.

That was one of the discussion topics at last month’s World MetroRail Congress Americas, where I moderated a panel session on addressing asset criticality. The panel was made up of three leaders on transit asset management:

  • Satyen Patel, Director of Asset Management, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
  • David Rose, Vice President, Global Director Management Consulting, Gannett Fleming
  • Laura Zale, Senior Asset Management Engineer, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

The panelists talked about how asset management is more than just a tool – it’s a way of thinking and acting, it’s a culture change. This starts first with full management commitment to get full buy-in at all levels (which is especially important if you have employee turnover – buy-in at multiple levels ensures that even if your EAM supporter leaves the organization, you still have allies in your court).

Furthermore, you need buy-in from multiple departments, too, rather than just working in silos. For example, getting accurate asset data can touch every department in your agency: maintenance staff gathering it on the workshop floor or in the field, maintenance supervisors and asset owners for measuring asset performance, asset management roles for connecting all the dots; and capital planners for forecasting needed investment, and ultimately c-level decision makers.

State of Good Repair

The panelists agreed that their agencies are focused on getting their assets in a State of Good Repair (SGR) – but what does that mean? To do so, the panelists agreed that you need to be able to answer these questions about your assets:

  • What do I have (complete and accurate inventory)?
  • What condition are they in?
  • How are my assets performing in relation to service requirements?
  • Where are they in their lifecycle?
  • What should I plan for, in relation to investments going forward?

Where to Go From Here

How do you start a cultural change in your transit organization? How do you get buy-in and convince your agency to focus more seriously on asset management and SGR? Start here:

Marcelo Bravo has dedicated his entire career to rail and transit with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Previous responsibilities have included the delivery of passenger rail cars from cradle to grave, Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software, and management consulting to transit authorities and railroads, in both North America and abroad. As the Industry Solutions Manager for Rail, Marcelo is in charge of the rail market strategy for North America, which encompasses the Trapeze Rail Enterprise range of offerings.
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